A New Hope for Healthcare Disruption
Last week I was delighted to read Rock Health’s report on Healthcare’s Middle Children. Finally, some recognition of companies who could seriously disrupt healthcare, even if they aren’t tech titans and retail rainmakers. If there’s one thing I’ve learned working in healthcare, it’s that we can’t find all our solutions to our problems with the same thinking that led to those problems in the first place. We need to bust the silos of industry and find solutions from unlikely places. So when companies like Comcast, Netflix and Disney dip their toes into healthcare waters, we shouldn’t dismiss their efforts for bandwagon enthusiasm. Instead, we should embrace their boldness as potential breakthroughs that can truly stand on their own.
But these disruptors need more than brand loyalty and great product design to navigate healthcare. Here are two ways healthcare disruptors can find their traction:
1. Create A New Health Narrative
Healthcare continues to be plagued by complexity, fragmentation, and overall disengagement. While many healthcare companies work to improve their pieces of the puzzle, it’s time to look at the healthcare system from a new perspective. In fact, it’s time for a new healthcare narrative that flips the script on what healthcare can and cannot do. Disruptors from industries like entertainment, telecommunications and e-commerce have the unique advantage of seeing healthcare from a broader perspective: how does health fit into the world of their customer? Rather than forcing users into a healthcare story they have no control of, disruptors have a blank slate to work with, redefining healthcare as a compelling consumer experience and an essential part of daily life.
2. Design for a Social Experience
We often forget how social we are as a species. The most disruptive companies can stimulate and/or satiate our social appetites — from movie dates, group chats to CRMs. We are social creatures, and anything we engage with needs to recognize and be a part of the human experience of interacting with others. Disruptors will need to leverage their insights to craft products and experiences that meet us where we are, bringing healthcare to us in our social lives. We’re not too far off from expanding “Netflix & Chill” to “Netflix & Lower Your A1c”. Industries like finance, retail and even end of life planning have become social experiences in today’s digital first world. We need healthcare to be a part of our social landscape, and disruptors will have a unique opportunity to bring their take on social designs for healthcare.
Healthcare is ripe for disruption. Yet how do we ensure disruption leads to sustainable transformation and a new healthcare reality? While I have some ideas, my hope is that with new disruptors in healthcare, we will see innovations that aren’t stymied by healthcare’s tiring legacy. Instead, new thinking and designs will find their traction and we can finally have a healthcare experience we can all enjoy.